This record was the creation of mandolinist, singer, violinist and composer Ben Brussell, with whom I worked for many years, playing weddings, bar mitzvahs and other gigs in the band Klezmania of San Francisco. The Wailing Wall is a lovely record which is near and dear to my heart for a number of reasons, not least of which is a very interesting and challenging tenor saxophone solo Benny composed for me to play on the title track.
Benny also honored me by including my composition "Prayer in the Reeds" which is a doina I perform on soprano sax. The record also contains Benny's arrangements of traditional klezmer tunes, as well as a variety of other sounds and influences including those of Western classical, Bulgarian and Arabic music, Yiddish theater tunes and Benny's original compositions which represent a fresh approach to these genres.
Playing with Ben and the many musicians who played with Klezmania over the years was a great period in my musical development. The music was often a formidable challenge, particularly for my soprano saxophone chops. The gigs took us to many extraordinary places I would never otherwise have seen, and the cultural experience helped me connect with the Jewish side of my background, as well as introducing me to Klezmer, Arabic, Balkan and many other great musical traditions. I will always be grateful to Benny for his friendship, musicianship and professionalism.
The Wailing Wall was recorded by Jerry Stucker at Sound and Vision Studios, San Francisco, produced by Ben Brussell.